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TV Review: The CW's All-American Season 3, Episode 5 (SPOILER-FILLED)

Remember where you came from.

All-American is a 2018 sports-drama TV show created by April Blair. The show has aired for thirty-three episodes on The CW. The show stars Daniel Ezra and Bre-Z. It was not nominated for any Primetime Emmys.

"Let's make some plays." -Jordan Baker


After Spencer James and Billy Baker both leave Beverly High for South Crenshaw High, tensions rise between friends and family. Jordan feels betrayed by Spencer, Olivia continues to ignore him, and things with him and Layla aren't as clear cut as they should be. Meanwhile, Coop's fears come true when Tyrone's sister comes to town in search of something unknown. As all of this happens, Spencer must deal with his continuous arm injury to play through the season.


Episode 5 "How Come" Review

We are now officially more than a quarter of the way through season 3 of All-American, but the show has found a way to make no progress toward an overarching story in these five episodes. The creators and writers turned a good, simple story with just enough layers to feel right into an overstuffed mess that plot-hops from character to character. This episode didn't do it as much, but it still didn't do enough for me to be convinced about this season of the show.

This episode was a stronger one than episode 4. While it had too many plot lines, a couple of them were pretty interesting and saw the characters dealing with past traumas. I never thought I'd say this for All-American, but I detected a theme throughout this season: dealing with trauma. Now that I think about it, this theme has been really strong throughout the season and makes me like it a little bit more. Spencer is dealing with his arm injury. Coop can't trust Monique because of her past with Tyrone. Olivia is reverting back to her addiction. Chris has trouble playing because he's afraid of getting hit. This is surprisingly good theme work, and I am legitimately impressed.

I still had a big amount of problems with this episode, though. First of all, this is perhaps the most lazily and badly written episodes of All-American. There are a bunch of characters that you don't remember reintroduced. There are all too many generic lines. For example, Spencer says "We need to protect Chris.". Billy says "It's time to find your faith.". Laura says "I'm sorry I didn't trust you, Olivia.". This is the ultimate episode of a CW show, full with cliche lines that aren't really sincere.

There are also a bunch of things that don't make sense. JJ should not become QB when Jordan is hurt. There should not be a TikTok video inside of a church. Not everyone on the football team should be going to a D1 school. And, for god sakes, Asher Adams should not be back on the football team. There is no logic to that at all. If somebody hands another team a playbook and uses steroids, it doesn't matter how much they try to redeem themselves. He cannot be back on this stupid football team.

I also really don't like that the entire plot line with J.P. Keating that has been building up over the last few episodes happened completely offscreen. Maybe there was some kind of deal with the actor who played J.P. that didn't work out, but that was just horrible.

And, once again, I cannot stand the Monique plot line. The side that they leaned on more this episode was that Coop was wrong and Monique was good, but she's gotta get over her fear that Monique is a villain. It's so clearly obvious that she's not, and Coop is just judging her because she's Tyrone's sister. They are stretching out a paper thin plot that is not working.

This episode is also undeniably predictable. You know that Spencer is going to help Chris somehow. I knew that the last scene would be Spencer talking to Coop. You knew that Jordan still had concussion symptoms. It was really, really obvious what was going to happen, which is sad. One of the best things about this show is the surprisingly unpredictable level of the story.

Otherwise, the two plot lines with Olivia and with Chris were pretty good. Once again, they deal with trauma, which is now a strong point in All-American. Diving back into Olivia's addiction and Chris' injury was actually somewhat powerful, and made for some nice payoff in the final scenes of the episode.

And, lastly, the ending scene with Coop and Spencer was one of the best in All-American. For a meh episode, this definitely delivered a good cliffhanger ending that makes me more excited for episode 6 than I'd usually be. Spencer and Coop are the two characters on this show that I truly like. Bre-Z is the best actor on the show. Daniel Ezra is usually good. Ezra's performance in this scene is one of the best he's given. I was originally going to talk about the stuff with Coop and the stuck point as a negative, but this ending gave me more of an explanation for the stuck point stuff, making me understand why Spencer blames Coop. This part genuinely surprised me, and it left me with a good feeling.

This episode is pretty balanced between the good and the bad. It was definitely one of the higher points in season 3 so far, giving me some high highs, but also some pretty low lows. I'd say I lean more positive than negative for this episode entertainment-wise, but I still am not invested in season 3 and I'm cynical about a fourth season. I will go into episode 6 with more anticipation than I had for this episode, but it still will not be even close to the excitement that I build up for WandaVision or Smallville.

Fun Factor: 7/10

Acting: 7/10

Story: 5/10

Characters: 6/10

Quality: 7/10

"How Come"

Daniel Ezra as Spencer James

Bre-Z as Tamia "Coop" Cooper

Samantha Logan as Olivia Baker

Michael Evans Behling as Jordan Baker

Taye Diggs as Billy Baker

Spence Moore II as Chris Jackson

Cody Christian as Asher Adams

Chelsea Tavares as Patience

Monet Mazur as Laura Fine-Baker

Greta Onieogou as Layla Keating

Hunter Clowdus as JJ Parker

Karimah Westbrook as Grace James


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